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Archive for November 6th, 2008

BUSINESS UNITY SOUTH AFRICA (BUSA): Commenting on the appointment of Mr Nhlanhla Musa Nene as Deputy Minister of Finance

Posted by African Press International on November 6, 2008

Business Unity South Africa (BUSA) welcomes the appointment of Mr Nhlanhla Nene, as the Deputy Minister of Finance. BUSA believes that Mr Nene has the necessary experience and background required for this challenging role, having served as the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Finance.

BUSA has enjoyed a solid relationship with Mr Nene during his tenure as the Chairperson of the Portfolio on Finance. Under his leadership, it was possible for BUSA to engage in constructive discussions on both monetary and fiscal policy issues said BUSA CEO Jerry Vilakazi.

We believe that Mr Nene has the necessary character and knowledge and that his appointment should bring certainty and predictability to business. Mr Nenes appointment is an indication of the commitment to continuity, a fact that BUSA welcomes said Vilakazi.

BUSA looks forward to working closely with Mr Nene in his new role as Deputy Minister of Finance.

ENDS.

Enquiries:

Jerry Vilakazi

Chief Executive Officer

Business Unity South Africa (BUSA)

Mobile: 082 490 5041

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Rwanda: We never shot back at DR Congo

Posted by African Press International on November 6, 2008

Kigali (Rwanda) – Rwandas Military Spokesman Maj. Jill Rutaremara, has strongly refuted, allegations made by the United Nations Peacekeeping Mission in DR Congo (MONUC), that the Rwanda Defense Forces, (RDF), fired heavy artillery shells at DR Congo territory last week.

MONUC claimed that Rwanda fired tank shells and other heavy artillery across the border into the DR Congo just before government forces (FARDC) were routed out of the provincial capital Goma by rebels of the National Congress for the Defence of the People (CNDP).

Rwanda has not made any attempt to shoot at the DR Congo; it is the Congolese army that shot at the Rwandan territory, explained Maj.Rutaremara.

The allegation of Rwanda shooting at the DR Congo territory comes days after FARDC artillery fire landed on Rwandan territory.

At least seven shells landed in Kabuhanga near Petite Barriere and Kamahoro, where Rwandan residents immediately evacuated to safer areas.

According to Rutaremara, after the DR Congo army pointed their guns towards Rwanda, the government immediately informed the former about the shootings and FARDC immediately brought it to an end and that Rwanda never reacted by shooting back.

The allegations of Rwanda shooting at the Congolese territory were made Monday by the MONUC spokesperson Sylvie van den Wildenberg .

She alleged that Uruguayan peacekeepers saw Rwandan tanks and other heavy artillery fire into DR Congo.

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API/Source.The New Times (Rwanda) – November 5, 2008.

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Uganda: What if we had American-style elections? (opinion)

Posted by African Press International on November 6, 2008

Kampala (Uganda) – So the Americans went to vote yesterday, after every columnist and his dog had said his two cents worth about the prospects for Democratic Party candidate and world favourite, the Kenyan-African-American Senator Barack Obama.

What if we held American-style elections in Uganda? We might have to hold early elections as the US does. Imagine, early voting in Uganda! Theres no doubt what would happen. In all previous elections, we have had constituencies where the turnout was 110 per cent or more they had more votes than voters. We all know how that comes about.

You can expect that the same thing would happen again. In polling stations near, or in, places like army barracks where, miraculously, support for the NRM and President Museveni is always highest, we can expect a couple of things.

In some of these areas, it is known that in the past some voters voted so many times that their hands became sore. There used to be ridiculous tales of some rogue soldiers voting, getting tired, going home to eat, napping, and returning toward the end of the day after they were refreshed to continue voting. All this in a day.

Imagine then, what would happen if they had two weeks to vote. The boxes would, doubtless, fill up and have to be emptied many times. If you added these votes to the ones on the main Election Day, you would end up with something like 450 per cent turnout!

The only way you would know that there has been over-voting is by counting all the ballots cast first. In 2006, when the turnout in some places were only 115 per cent, by the time President Museveni was declared winner, some votes even in Kampala had not been counted after more than two days.

So with a turnout of 450 per cent, if you added disputes about whether ballots were good or bad, it would take nearly two months to count. The matter, as has happened in the last two previous elections, would go to the Supreme Court. Because of the mountain of evidence, the court would take two months to hear the opposition case. In the end, it would give up and order a recount of the vote just to make sure that, actually, the ballots represent a 450 per cent turnout.

Naturally the Election Commission wouldnt have a budget to conduct a recount. So it would take another nine months to find the money, after the donors refuse to fund it. So now we would be well into the second year, and Museveni (or whoever is president) will be in office for this period waiting for the recount.

When the recount finally comes, a bombshell will drop. It will turn out that the original voter registers which had 10 million voters had been replaced by strange ones with 45 million people.

The government case, based on the new mystery voter roll, would be that there was nothing wrong with a turnout of 450 per cent because it represented the number of voters in the country. The opposition will now go back to the Supreme Court, this time to dispute the voter roll.

They would argue that the population of Uganda is 30 million, and assuming that only half are of voting age, the most there can be is 15 million. However, assuming that everyone registered, 45 million would still be 15 million people more than the population.

An exasperated Supreme Court, arguing that it is not a Population Bureau, would order a census. It then takes another 15 months for the Population Secretariat to organise a census. The census finds that, surprise, surprise, there are actually 50 million, not 30 million, Ugandans.

Undeterred, the opposition returns to court to challenge the population census. The court reaches the only sensible verdict: That it is difficult to know exactly how many Ugandans are there, and therefore there is no way of determining whether the register is accurate.

So, no reruns, no recounts and, well, therefore no future elections. And in this way, the man in State House stays, stays, and stays, without being elected until he is escorted out by the gentle hand of nature.

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API/Source.The Monitor (Uganda), by Charles Onyango Obbo – November 5, 2008.

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South Africa: Obama is inspiring, says Madiba

Posted by African Press International on November 6, 2008

Johannesburg (South Africa) – Anti-apartheid icon Nelson Mandela congratulated US President elect Barack Obama on his victory on Wednesday, saying he was an inspiration to people all over the world.

“Your victory has demonstrated that no person anywhere in the world should not dare to dream of wanting to change the world for a better place,” Mandela said in a letter to Obama.

“We note and applaud your commitment to supporting the cause of peace and security around the world. We trust that you will also make it the mission of your presidency to combat the scourge of poverty and disease everywhere,” Mandela said.

Obama became the United States’ first black president as his Republican rival John McCain conceded defeat in historic elections on Wednesday morning. South African leaders congratulated him, expressing hope that his election would place Africa’s problems higher on the global agenda.

“Your election to this high office of the American people carries with it hope for millions of your country men and women as much as it is for millions of people of particularly African descent both on the continent of Africa as well as those in the diaspora,” President Kgalema Motlanthe said in a statement.

“We express the hope that poverty and under-development in Africa which remains a challenge for humanity will indeed continue to receive a greater attention of the focus of the new administration,” added Motlanthe.

The ANC said it expected South Africa to maintain its strong relationship of “mutual respect and co-operation” with the US.

“The ANC is confident that the Obama administration will work to strengthen ties between the United States and Africa, building on development initiatives already in place, forging a genuine partnership to tackle the challenges facing the continent,” said ANC spokesperson Jessie Duarte.

Democratic Alliance leader Helen Zille said Obama’s election conveyed “a powerful message that the politics of race is on the way out”.

“His ascent to the Presidency shows that in politics, nothing is inevitable…”It demonstrates that through hard work and access to opportunity, anyone can change the world. Hopefully, here in South Africa, we will learn from Obama’s success, and take the politics of the open, opportunity society to heart,” Zille said.

The Congress of SA Trade Unions (Cosatu) described Obama’s election as an “exceptional achievement”.

The result was a huge step forward in the battle to defeat racism and discrimination in the US and around the world.

The Federation of Unions of South Africa (Fedusa) said Obama’s election signalled “a period of great change in a world that desperately needs it”.

Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu called it an “epoch-making event filling the whole world with hope that change is possible”.

“It is just tremendous; it is saying to people of colour that for them, the sky is the limit. “My heartiest congratulations go to Senator Barack Obama and his partner Senator Joe Biden on their victory,” Tutu said.
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API/Source.Sapa (South Africa) – November 5, 2008.

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Kenya: Nation erupts in ecstasy at Obama election

Posted by African Press International on November 6, 2008

Kogelo Village (Kenya) – Kenya is ecstatic at the news of Barack Obama’s historic election as president of the United States. Upon hearing news of their beloved “son’s” win Wednesday morning, residents of Kogelo village burst into song and cheers of joy.

Kogelo, about 50 kilometres from Kisumu, the capital of Nyanza Province, is home to Barack Obama’s Kenyan relatives, and is where his father, Barack Obama Sr. was born.

About 50 foreign journalists have been reporting from the village over the past week in hopes of capturing just such a moment. However, the Obama family has kept relatively quiet, choosing to make statements to the press through their elected family spokesperson for the week, Obama’s half-brother, Malik Abango .

Following today’s announcement, journalists were invited to a section of the Obama homestead to join some members of the family to view Obama’s acceptance speech. The relatives, along with some neighbors, cheered, sang and gave the “thumbs- up” sign at Obama’s words.

In a brief press conference following the speech, Abango told journalists the family wants to express “extreme gratitude and appreciation of the American people.”

This “gratitude” is evident outside the homestead as well. American flags, stars-and-stripes-themed clothing and slogans praising America are highly visible today. One very small, sleepy restaurant in Siaya town, the nearest town to Kogelo, was playing CNN International to a small but rapturous audience, one of whom was wearing an American flag hat.

The Obama family’s life in Kenya will be different from here out. Beyond being the center of international media attention, the family will have new responsibilities in their village.

“Things are going to change [for us]… We have projects… We have to provide for our people,” Abango said. As for the rumors of a Kenyan-style Obama homecoming to Kogelo, Abango said: “I know right now that if you check his appointment book, I bet you he’ll get here as soon as he can.”

But what will will an Obama presidency really mean for Kenya, where Obama, who scarcely knew his Kogelo-born father, is held in such esteem?

Abango said that Kenyans can take away the values of “true democracy, and what humility is all about.”

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API/Source.allAfrica.com- November 5, 2008.

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Kenya: A new holiday and song and dance for Obama

Posted by African Press International on November 6, 2008

Nairobi (Kenya) – Kenyans are celebrating Barack Obama’s triumph the best way they know how – with song and dance – the Government has weighed in with a public holiday on Thursday as a country salutes an emphatic win.

Shortly after CNN declared Obama the winner just before 7am (Kenya time) on Wednesday, President Kibaki announced that Kenyans will on Thursday take a day off to mark the historic election of Obama to the most powerful office on earth.

Even as the President made the declaration, Kenyans were already deep in celebration. From the sprawling Kibera slums in Nairobi to the senator’s ancestral home 400 kilometres west in Kogelo, Siaya, jubilant Kenyans sung and danced in honour of a victorious son.

Scenes of wild celebrations were also seen at the Kenyatta International Conference, Nairobi where Kenyans kept vigil all night following the US election in giant screens.

Said President Kibaki: This is a momentous day not only in the history of the United States of America, but also for us in Kenya. The victory of Senator Obama is our own victory because of his roots here in Kenya. As a country, we are full of pride for his success.

He said that Obamas unassailable victory was a clear testimony of the confidence the American people have not only in his leadership and vision for his country but for the world at large.

On behalf of the Government and people of Kenya, and on my own behalf, I join the rest of the world in celebrating and congratulating you on your election as the 44th President of the United States of America.

I am confident that your Presidency shall herald a new chapter of dialogue between the American people and the world at large.

The President also expressed readiness of his government to work with the new American administration to further promote and strengthen relations that exist between the two countries.

We the Kenyan people are immensely proud of your Kenyan roots. Your victory is not only an inspiration to millions of people all over the world, but it has special resonance with us her in Kenya.

Prime Minister Raila Odinga, away on an official trip in China, led the Government delegation in celebrations when Obama’s win was projected by CNN and Time magazine.

Vice-President Kalonzo Musyoka said Obama’s victory heralds a new dawn in history of America and in relations between America and other nations of the world.

“It is exciting for Kenya not only because of continental attachment to President-elect because of his roots in Kenya but because Obama victory is a harbinger of good tidings especially for our tourism sector.”

The VP said many Americans would now wish to visit country of the father of their new President. He said never before has a candidate of a superpower been widely supported across the world. “This means Obama’s leadership of US is likely to bring world nations closer and bridge polarisation that currently exist,” he said.

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API/source.The Nation (Kenya)- November 5, 2008.

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